Thursday, February 4, 2010

God is an Empty, Quiet Parent Universe

When I was little, laying awake, I would think about the origin of God, and fall asleep to my incomprehension. Now, I still can't sleep, but I simply think about from where the universe came.

The Arrow of Time is a lecture based on the book From Eternity to Here, by Sean Carrol. (link to lecture: Carrol asks the question, "What came before the big bang?" He discusses time and the multiverse, and the role of entropy's directionality. Ultimately, he would like to construct a theory that results in the multiverse.

While not the catalyst for my atheism, such topics as the arrow of time, the multiverse, and entropy are enough to hold my interest in my relationship without a god.

Much like human interaction, my relationship with God ended when I stopped feeling attracted to him. I am not going to use this weak metaphor any further, though, because I respect the clarity and depth with which some pursue god. He just wasn't there for me, and for a few years, this is what He remained: an absence. When I took the time to let that settle, I pursued further insight. And it was frightening to let go of that long dormant, yet present comfort. Beyond stating what I am, beliefs are sacred matters, the foundation for our stability in reality, and something we cannot take for granted. There is a burden in the disillusionment of others which, for all my ignorance, I am not willing to accept.

I prefer to wonder and to disillusion myself, to be challenged by the existence of the belief in god, and to be engaged enough to fall asleep thinking about it.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Michael Shermer, the founder of Skeptic magazine, still doesn't like to refer to himself as an atheist. Does the word feel that dirty that even people like him, even though they might be one, still don't like to refer to themselves as one?

Even I feel dirty. I'm not sure I would refer to myself as that sometimes. I feel like it's not dirty, perhaps. It's just that the position of atheist is negative by default. It is the disbelief in something ...not the belief in in something. This is why some groups like Freethought, Brights, and other similar groups have popped up. It's not the disbelief in a deity that defines them but the belief in science and empirical evidence. I kind of like that. Maybe it is our upbringing in America. Maybe it's not an actual word but it still is negative in the sense that it is the position of not believing something. Freethinkers, Brights, Skeptics, etc. are probably 99% atheist but the focus of the way these people define themselves is changed.

Atheists are shown to be one of the least trusted kinds of people but for no reason other than prejudice. I'm not agreeing with this prejudice but I do feel like the position of atheist is almost unnatural. Serious scientists are searching for the God gene because why does every culture have a deity of some sort? Personally, I feel like it's not a gene but has something to do with our psychology.

Even atheists are agnostics ultimately. Basically, there's no way to prove there ISN'T a god out there. You cannot prove a negative. However, you cannot prove that Zeus doesn't throw lightning bolts from the 6th dimension or a teapot orbiting a planet in Andromeda either at this point. It leaves the realm of what is possible and enters the realm of what is reasonable.

Still, technically, atheists are actually agnostics.

I sometimes wish there was an afterlife but then I just can't help but feel that there's no reason to believe in that and I don't want to waste my time. The upside to all of this too is that you really start to think about today and how to live your one and only life. For me, this doesn't mean doing a bunch of heinous shit. It just means that I really need to get in gear for this one chance. And also, the more you think about things in this way, with evolution and the forming of the universe, it's amazing to be here at all. Luck is a loaded word but it comes to mind. Of course, the only reason I can feel amazed is that I was born and I am made of this star stuff but still's pretty good.

Death will probably be just like it was before we were born and that is depressing to think about but I hope it doesn't depress me too much because I have to live more for today.